COLUMBUS – Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for a second time and Wyatt Davis was selected as the conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Year on Tuesday, but there was little time to celebrate.
Asked how he marked the occasion, Davis said, “By having practice early this (Wednesday) morning.”
Ohio State’s focus is on Saturday’s Big Ten championship game against Indiana. A win there would make OSU the Big Ten’s champion for a fourth year in a row and could earn the Buckeyes a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff.
While some of his teammates who were on a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday avoided a question about whether Ohio State, which has played only five games, needs to prove something, cornerback Shaun Wade didn’t.
“We’ve definitely got something to prove. Like I’ve been telling a lot of my teammates we’ve got to blow them out, we have to come to play,” Wade said. “We only played five games. Everyone else in the nation played eight or more. We have to show the world what we can do.”
Davis said Ohio State is highly motivated to play this week after having its rivalry game against Michigan canceled last week. It also would have been the final home game at Ohio Stadium for the team’s seniors and underclassmen like Davis who will be leaving early to go to the NFL.
“It was really tough, especially when we found out super early in the week like that,” he said about the Michigan game being canceled last Tuesday.
“If there’s anything this year has taught us it’s that nothing is for certain. We have to try to bounce back from that and put our full focus on Northwestern. That’s what we’ve been doing but still … What was hard was that game, but also not being able to walk out in The Shoe one last time. That was pretty tough.
“For me, the whole week last week it (not playing Michigan) obviously was on my mind. But the one thing we do is regroup. Coach (Ryan) Day preaches to just regroup and hit the restart button,” he said. “Motivation is at an all-time high, not just for me but for everyone else.”
The last time Ohio State played was Dec. 5 when it beat Michigan State 52-12. Davis came out of that game during the second half limping after some sort of knee problem. He says not having a game last Saturday has helped the knee get better.
“I definitely feel a lot better physically. Emotionally, that was tough not being able to have that game. I’m already to go for this week’s game and I’m feeling a lot better. On the bright side it definitely did help my knee get back on track,” he said.
“This game is huge. It’s one stepping stone moving forward to the end goal. The way we approach it is when we’re in the league is to win every game and get to Indy. At the end of every highlight film we have before every game it always ends with ‘Get to Indy.’
“Now we’re in Indy and now it’s time to go out and get a Big Ten championship. And also get a national championship. Coming off last year we have bigger things in mind, which is a national championship.”